MTA’s mobile-ticketing app debuts on LIRR

Today the Port Washington Branch, tomorrow the world ... at least, all LIRR and Metro-North lines.

A Long Island Rail Road branch is one of the first regional railroads to offer remote ticket purchasing through the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s new eTix app.

MTA eTix officially debuted Tuesday on the LIRR’s Port Washington Branch and the Metro-North Railroad’s Hudson line. The free mobile app is designed to allow LIRR and Metro-North passengers to purchase tickets remotely, among a menu of other commuter-friendly tools.

Albany is opening up the throttle on the app, which was originally scheduled to go live by the end of this year. The new plan has MTA eTix available to all riders of both railroads this summer, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and MTA officials announced Tuesday.

“Gov. Cuomo has asked us to make this app broadly available as quickly as possible, and we’ve responded with an aggressive roll-out schedule,” MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas Prendergast said in a statement, adding MTA eTix will be ready for all LIRR and Metro-North riders “before the end of August.”

Following Tuesday’s debut, the app is slated to be available to passengers of Metro-North’s Harlem Line by July 25, with “full system-wide implementation” – including the remainder of the LIRR – scheduled for Aug. 22, according to the MTA.

In addition to purchasing tickets through their mobile devices, the app allows passengers to check schedules and see live service updates. The app also features account-management tools that allow passengers to easily secure refunds for unused digital tickets, while daily commuters and other frequent riders can create and manage password-protected profiles for quicker purchases.

The app was developed by international transportation-software maker Masabi Ltd., which has also created electronic mobile-ticketing programs for the NICE Bus on Long Island, the MBTA Commuter Rail in Boston and Metrolink in Los Angeles. Masabi, with administrative officers in New York City and London, was selected in April 2014 following a competitive request for proposals issued in March 2013.

MTA eTix can be downloaded for free by iPhone and Android users as a stand-alone app or through the popular TrainTime apps. The MTA plans to continue developing the app, including user-friendly upgrades allowing passengers transferring from NYC subway or bus lines to pay both fares through a single transit account.

Noting his administration “remains committed to building a transit network that is responsive to the needs of travelers who rely on mass transportation,” Cuomo called the MTA eTix launch “a major step forward in our efforts.”

“This new app puts riders first by eliminating the ticket line and helping New Yorkers and visitors get where they need to go with more freedom and convenience,” the governor said. “We will continue to create a 21st century transit system that embraces innovation.”

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